[HOWTO] Send a Fax From Your Computer

Category: Fax

Sending a fax from your computer is a convenient, money-saving way to communicate with people who insist on paper documents. There are several ways to send a fax from your computer, even if you don't have a fax machine. Here's how you can start faxing from your PC, Mac or mobile device...

No Fax Machine? No Problem!

Even though we live in a digital age, there are still plenty of faxes whizzing back and forth over the wires. If you deal with lawyers, banks, accountants, or almost any office that deals with lots of paperwork, you will occasionally need to send a quick fax.

But what if you don't have a fax machine? You can drive over to the nearest copy shop or office supply store and pay them to send your fax, but that's no fun. Fortunately, you can send a fax right from your computer - no fax machine required!

The first and best option in most cases is to try one of the many free fax servers to be found on the Web. FaxZero is one these free fax services. Just enter your name, email address, and optionally your company or fax number. Add the fax number and name of the intended recipient. Upload a file in PDF, DOC, or DOCX (Word 2007 and higher) format, or type a short message in a Web form box to be faxed. You can fax up to three pages (plus cover page) five times a day for free. If you have hardcopy pages that need to be faxed, you'll need to scan them into PDF format first. (See Digital Scanners To The Rescue if you don't have a scanner.)

Send Fax From Computer

Faxzero and most other free fax services have subscription-based plans for higher volume customers. Faxzero charges $1.99 for priority delivery of faxes up to 25 pages. See my list in Free Internet Faxing for more options. If you're often on the receiving end of faxes, my article Get Your Free Inbound Fax Number will show you how to funnel all that paper into your email inbox instead.

If you use an iPhone or iPad there are apps you can use to send a fax from your mobile device. Look in the App Store for PC-FAX (offers one free page per day) or iFax Pro (charges 99 cents for up to 5 pages). If you have an Android-powered smartphone or tablet, look in Google Play (formerly called Android Market) for iFax Pro.

Desktop Faxing Solutions

Let's start with the Fax and Scan utility built into Windows Vista, Windows 7, 8 and 10. To start Fax and Scan, click Start, type WFS, and press Enter. If Fax and Scan is not installed on your system, click Start, Control Panel, Programs, Turn Windows Features On Or Off, then Print And Document Services. Check the box next to Windows Fax and Scan and click OK to install Windows Fax and Scan services. Note that Fax and Scan is only available on the Business and Ultimate editions of Vista, not Vista Home Edition. If you're still running Windows XP, see How to enable and configure the fax service in Windows XP. All modern versions of Mac OS have fax sending capability built in.

You can send a fax using a standard fax modem, which most computers have. Just plug your phone line into the telephone jack on the back of your computer, and you should be good to go. Windows Fax and Scan lets you compose a text-only fax on the fly, or you can send any file, such as a Word document, a spreadsheet, a photo, or a scanned page to a remote fax machine. Cover pages are also easy to create with this program. On a Mac, open the document, click File/Print, click the PDF button, then choose "Fax PDF" from the pop-up menu. Unfortunately, most newer Macs do not have an internal modem, so the online fax solution may be the only option.

Third-party fax software for Windows is preferred by some users, and some of these programs offer features that Windows Fax and Scan lacks. Electrasoft offers a shareware program that can print incoming faxes, forward them to your email inbox, or use your cellular phone to send a fax. Snappy Fax 2000 can filter out unwanted junk faxes. There are plenty of free and low-cost fax programs with different features to suit every taste.

Enterprises which send lots of faxes each month can benefit from an in-house fax server. Such a server is a network-connected computer equipped with special telephony cards into which multiple phone lines can be plugged. Software handles receipt and queuing of digital fax documents from users on the network, and the transmission of faxes through multiple phone lines. A fax server can also store sent faxes, allowing users to quickly find, view, and print copies of what they sent.

Why not just buy a cheap fax machine? The short answer to that question is that they're not really so cheap when you factor in all the costs. See my article Six Reasons to Trash Your Fax Machine and join my crusade to stamp out fax machines in our lifetime! :-)

Have you ever sent a fax from your computer? Tell us about it, or post your own comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "[HOWTO] Send a Fax From Your Computer"

Posted by:

Al Zimmerman
18 Nov 2016

Thanks, Bob. Another helpful article. I bookmarked the FaxZero site for future use.

Posted by:

18 Nov 2016

Most home printers are "All In Ones" and therefore have a fax machine built in. Ever since we went "paperless" we have used more paper than before.

Posted by:

18 Nov 2016

FaxZero sounds convenient, but it is probably not a good idea to send pages that have private company info... never know who is watching.

Posted by:

Stuart Berg
18 Nov 2016

For sending FAXes, I'm a big fan of a free account at Box.com. Although Box is mostly a cloud based file sharing system, it also has add-ons that allow other capabilities. One of those add-ons is HelloFax (also free at Box.net) which allows you to send FAXes for free. Although I don't know the restrictions on HelloFax, if any, but I've sent FAXes as large as 25 pages without a problem.

Posted by:

18 Nov 2016

Back in the day, I used to get and send a lot of faxes. I was using Pfax (which is now Myfax). I have a personal fax number. It costs me $6/month and I still keep it for those rare occasional faxes (very rare these days). There are enough places that have my fax number that switching would be a pain. But I send and receive so few that I may drop it and try one of the others.

Posted by:

George Keller
19 Nov 2016

Another good, informative article, but I have to take exception to the reference to the statement about most computers having a fax modem. Few, if any, PCs from the last five years have internal fax modems. No laptops that I am aware of have one.

Posted by:

19 Nov 2016

One reason I keep a fax (either a physical one or an online one) is that I occasionally run into banks, medical providers or a government agency that will accept a document by fax but won't accept a emailed scan. For example, I recently needed to send a particular signed form to the IRS. They will accept the form via USPS mail to them. They will accept a fax. But they won't accept a emailed scan.

Posted by:

D Morrison
20 Nov 2016

Thank you so much.
I will be sharing this with a friend who is dealing with estate matters in another province. Lots of faxes to be sent. I hope it is workable in Canada.

Posted by:

23 Nov 2016

Be aware that if sending faxes to another country, many organizations have their fax machines set to reject faxes from any country other than their own in order to fight spam. So if you are in the US, you must use a US based service, same with Canada.

Posted by:

27 Nov 2016

I use Tinyscanner on my phone. Seems to work just fine

Posted by:

27 Dec 2016

Fax through email is vast technology but we have to use it very carefully.It is best article provided by you.Anyone interested then visit our site..

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